Rumors keep surfacing on the fringe of American politics that President Obama is a secret Muslim, including a recent video that has gone viral on Youtube. It involves an Israeli author, Avi Lipkin, who claims that his wife (who supposedly monitors Arab-language broadcasts professionally) heard a Nile TV news program in which the Egyptian Foreign Minister stated that Obama had personally told him that he was a Muslim.

I checked with friends who do monitor Egyptian TV broadcasts professionally. The story is a hoax. Mrs. Lipkin has been asked about her allegations and can’t quite remember when the broadcast took place. No-one else has seen it.

No-one will accuse me of harboring warm and fuzzy sentiments about Barack Obama. The estimable John Podhoretz denounced me for crossing the line of decency in attacking him not along ago (we’ll let that pass). More than two years ago I published a “Spengler” essay arguing that the then-candidate identified profoundly with the America-hating, fellow-traveling, anthropologist mother who dumped him on his grandparents in Hawaii while she set off to save the Muslim craftsmen of Indonesia against globalization. And I haven’t been shy about elaborating on this view since. We have the first President in history who thinks that the United States is part of the problem rather than part of the solution in the world, and it’s a disaster.

But all the nonsense about secret Muslim affiliation, missing birth certificates, and so forth, is an annoying distraction. This last report like the many before it is a hoax. Sure, it’s funny when  Jay Leno says: “What’s the difference between Obama and Bo? Bo has papers.” The President’s character and ideology are fair game. But let’s stick to facts. Obama has written and said enough to make his views clear. He has a deep personal sympathy for Islam and the Muslim world, the sort of bond that arises from abandonment by father, stepfather and mother. He is a dreadful president, possibly the worst in American history. But there’s no evidence of any kind that he is a secret Muslim, a foreign national, a space alien, or a cyborg.